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Strong warning to online sellers of tobacco products


None of the on-line sellers of tobacco products that were checked by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) met all obligations laid down by legislation. During this inspection activity focused on verification of the age of purchasers, CAFIA co-operated also with underage helpers. The total of 11 inspection purchases showed that all inspected sellers violated legislation and the majority verified the age of the purchasers insufficiently and enabled thus purchasing tobacco products on the Internet also to underage persons.

During the inspection, CAFIA detected, inter alia, following deficiencies:

  • In 9 cases CAFIA found out that the e-shop was not equipped with a mandatory system that would unequivocally verify the age of the purchaser. Some sellers left the verification up to the transporter delivering the consignment or they relied on formal verification of the age by the purchaser. Neither ticking off the field “I am older than 18 years” nor indicating the date of birth nor similar unclear ways of verification of the age are sufficient.
  • In 3 cases the age of the purchaser was not verified either by the delivery of the tobacco products.
  • In 5 cases the sellers failed to comply with the obligation to notify the system of age verification into the register of the Ministry of Health.
  • In 2 cases information on the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products to underage persons was missing in the e-shop.

Conditions for distant sale of tobacco products (e.g. on the Internet) are laid down by Act No. 65/2017 Coll., Protection of Health from the Harmful Effects of Drugs. The Act lays down unequivocally the requirements for electronic verification of the age of the purchaser. CAFIA regards following ways of verification as sufficient:

  • MojeID system (or its alternatives)
  • Verification of the age by an identity card during personal registration
  • By a reduced copy of an ID (data that are not intended to identify the person and age are anonymised)
  • By another reliable and unequivocal way (for example a paper document checked by the Checkpoint provided the identity and the age of persons is apparent, etc.).

Other ways, such as ticking off a box “I am older than 18 years” are not regarded as sufficient.

CAFIA also emphasises that 2 steps verification of the age of purchasers is always required – firstly during the purchase on the Internet and secondly during the receipt of the parcel from the delivery service (or during the personal receipt).

Guideline summing up the obligations laid down by Act No. 65/2017 Coll. for sellers of tobacco products was released on the CAFIA websites (in Czech language only).

CAFIA ordered the inspected persons to remedy the unacceptable conditions without undue delay and will initiate an administrative procedure on imposition of a fine with them.

With regard to sheer unacceptable results of this inspection activity, CAFIA will continue with inspections in this segment in the future.


Article by: Mgr. Pavel Kopřiva – CAFIA Spokesperson, phone: +420 542 426 633   

15th January 2020